When playing at an online casino you'll find a variety of blackjack variants, each played with differing numbers of card decks. While you may not give this a second thought, experienced blackjack players know that the number of decks that make up blackjack shoes have a major effect on the house edge of a particular game.
As a general rule of thumb, the fewer decks used in a game of blackjack the lower the house advantage and the higher the payout percentage you can expect from the game when you play according to sound basic blackjack strategy.
You will occasionally find single deck blackjack games at online casinos but for the most part, the various games have more than a solitary deck in play. Also, it is important to bear in mind that even if a particular game has the same number of decks the same version in another casino, it doesn't necessarily mean that both will share the same house edge.
In addition to the number of decks used in a particular game, the rules of the particular blackjack variant are another indicator of the odds on offer, so it is always a good idea to consider both before selecting a game. Visit this page for more on how to identify the best blackjack games.
We will now examine a few of the multi-deck blackjack games available at online and mobile casinos as well as the rules you should be on the lookout for in order to find a game with the lowest possible house edge. This combined with strategic game play will ensure that you achieve the best possible returns.
The most common 2 deck blackjack game is Vegas Downtown Blackjack. When considering this game, look for rules where the dealer hits on soft 17 (that is a hand consisting of an Ace acting as an 11), also look for games that allow you to double after a split as these rules will ensure a relatively low house advantage of 0.39%.
If you're looking to play a variant that uses four decks then ensure that the rules dictate that the dealer stands on soft 17, you can double any cards and double down after a split. If the game also offers late surrender to players, then the house edge should be around 0.34%. You can see from this example that the rules here will outweigh the number of decks giving you more favourable odds.
5 deck blackjack games are very rare, but if you do happen to find one that you want to play make sure that the dealer stands on soft 17 and you are permitted to double down on any two cards once you have split them. The game should also allow you to split up to four hands and if it gives the opportunity for Early Surrender you will be looking at a house edge of around 0.47%.
Of all the 6 deck blackjack games, there is a variant that does give players a 0.03% edge over the casino. In this variant the dealer stands on soft 17 and does not peek for blackjack. You will be permitted to double down on nine, ten or eleven, double after you have split your cards and Surrender early if necessary. If you can find a game with these rules, play it as you will not find a better variant.
Blackjack games played off 8 decks are becoming increasingly popular as software developers try to get more players to play them. This is because these games afford the casino a higher house edge than any other game unless you can find one where the dealer stands on soft 17, you are able to double down on any hand, re-split Aces and choose late surrender. If you can find a game with these rules you'll be facing a house edge of 0.36% but if not, avoid these games altogether as there are better options.